Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Civic Fed Chair Accuses Johns Hopkins of Racism

The Gaithersburg West Master Plan continues to make its way through the County Council and we have allowed supporters and opponents to make their case on this blog. We have also published the concerns of the state government. But now an official representing the Montgomery County Civic Federation has raised a new argument that is bound to stir the pot: namely, that Johns Hopkins’ development plan is allegedly racist.

In the Sentinel’s October 1 Federation Corner column (which is unfortunately not online), the Montgomery County Civic Federation’s immediate Past President and current Transportation Committee Chair Arnold Gordon included this paragraph in his essay opposing the Master Plan:

Now let’s talk about the need for all of this. Do we need more employment here? The figures show our unemployment rate is very low given the economic downturn. Nothing in this “Science City” Plan requires that development be for businesses oriented toward the biosciences, technology or the like, except for the Johns Hopkins portion. What would be created is a gigantic office park in an era when commercial space is already adequate for years to come. Put this where it belongs – Baltimore, where there is a genuine need for employment. One wonders why Johns Hopkins has become so enamored of this County at the expense of its native city. Could race be a factor at play here?
So creating jobs in MoCo is a racist act? Let’s think about this for a moment. The argument fails on its merits because we are the most demographically diverse jurisdiction in the state. And furthermore, if we accuse people who want to create jobs here of racism, how many jobs do you think we are going to get?